Case Study - Cathy Hands

Case Study - Cathy Hands - Marketing Executive

Reasonable Adjustments in Recruitment

Gaynor Sears, Consultant at Equal Approach, always encourages applications from candidates with a difference, and is confident in making adjustments for candidates with disabilities.

Cathy is profoundly deaf and struggled to find employment since her last role

Gaynor received Cathy's call via the Text Relay service to apply for a Marketing Executive role at Remploy. Cathy is profoundly deaf and uses Text Relay as a way of communicating over the telephone. The Text Relay service helps people with hearing loss and/or a speech impairment to access the telephone system. A Relay Assistant acts as an intermediary to convert speech to text and vice versa for the two people in conversation.

Gaynor stated: "Since I have been at Equal Approach, I have communicated with candidates via this service many times, as I have a hearing impairment in both ears and during this call I myself experienced problems with my hearing due to recurrent problems. Therefore I asked the intermediary if Google Hangout was accessible to Cathy and suggested we used this as a way to communicate more effectively".

Cathy struggled to find employment since she she left her last role in 2015, so was slightly anxious about the process.

Gaynor interviewed Cathy via Google Hangout, and gained all the information required, in order to submit to Remploy. Whilst interviewing via Google Hangout, Gaynor discovered that an element of “animation” was lost, and she couldn’t gauge the level of interest from Cathy. She also found that she often misread Cathy's tone and sometimes misread the context of what she was typing. To overcome this Gaynor spent a lot of time reaffirming what Cathy had said, using open questions to ask her to explain her answers in more detail.

Cathy was then invited to interview with Remploy, which involved some tests, so Gaynor checked with Cathy about her needs against the expectations of the interview, and made the necessary reasonable adjustments.

Equal Approach helped Cathy to overcome the unnecessary barriers that she had previously faced in the recruitment process

Cathy's first interview with Remploy went well, and the Director overseeing the recruitment for this role then wanted to arrange a telephone call with each of the successful candidates who had made it through to the next stage.

In order to make this accessible for Cathy, a Google Hangout was suggested as this had been a reasonable adjustment used during the initial stage of the interview. However, Gaynor felt that this would not be suitable, as the Director was looking to gauge and assess the enthusiasm for the role from the candidates and get a feel for the personality of the individual, and Gaynor believed that a Google Hangout would negatively affect Cathy's chances of securing the role as the Director wouldn’t get this from a Google Hangout. Instead she suggested that as a reasonable adjustment for Cathy, they should arrange an informal meeting instead, in order for the Director to be able to understand non-verbal communication such as body language.

The informal meeting was arranged, and subsequently Remploy informed Gaynor that Cathy was successful – Hoorah! So Cathy received a texted to ask if she was available to Hangout, so Gaynor could make the offer.  

Gaynor generally delivers offers by phone, which allows her to deliver the news in a positive tone and gauge their reaction. With Cathy, Gaynor had to deliver this news via Hangout, but was conscious that she wanted to retain the positive tone that she would have use on the phone, so Gaynor made every effort to ensure that her written communication style matched to ensure Cathy felt the same elation as any other candidate.

Cathy was delighted and accepted the role!

The only thing left to do was to make arrangements for the reasonable adjustments that Cathy would need to carry out her role, which was a straightforward job to do, and included: an Access to Work application, Minicom System, Typist, and Text relay service.

Gaynor stated: "It always feels great supporting individuals to secure a new job, but with Cathy, I took great pride in helping her overcome the unnecessary barriers that she had previously faced in the recruitment process in order to get back into work. Cathy is a fantastic candidate and is a great example of how adopting an inclusive recruitment process and removing barriers can ensure you recruit the best person for the role".